A hyphenated ethnicity or hyphenated identity is a reference to an ethnicity combined with the name of the country of residence. The term is an extension of the term "hyphenated American". The term refers to the use of a hyphen between the name of an ethnicity and the name of the country in compound nouns: Irish-American, etc., although modern English language style guides recommend dropping the hyphen: "Irish American".
The concept should not be confused with that of mixed ethnicity and multiraciality, i.e., the ethnicity or race of a person whose parents have different ethnicities/races, which can also be written in a hyphenated way.
The term "hyphenated American" originated in 1890s and was used disparagingly as a reference to immigrants who, by brandishing their ethnic origin, allegedly demonstrated an incomplete allegiance to the United States, especially during the World War I period.
Jeffrey Lesser wrote: "While there is no linguistic categories that acknowledge hyphenated ethnicity (a third generation Brazilian or Japanese descendant remains 'Japanese' while a fourth-generation Brazilian of Lebanese descent may become a turco, an arabe, a sirio, or a sirio-libanese), in fact immigrant communities aggressively tried to negotiate a status that allowed for both Brazilian nationality and ethnic difference".